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August 9, 2013

Warren growing its farmers markets

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

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Warren Parks and Recreation Director Henry Bowman said the city’s Sunday farmers markets at City Square, east of Van Dyke and north of 12 Mile Road, have become a “Sunday destination” for residents.

WARREN — The seeds for weekly fresh produce sales, merchandise vendors and live entertainment were planted in 2007 when Warren hosted its first Sunday farmers market at City Square, east of Van Dyke and north of 12 Mile Road.

The city added a Saturday farmers market on July 6 at the Owen Jax Recreation Center on Nine Mile east of Van Dyke.

The concept is still growing, and Warren Parks and Recreation Director Henry Bowman said he hopes both markets, each somewhat unique in its offerings, will continue to blossom.

“The market over there (at Owen Jax), we’ve got a little different kind of a setup,” Bowman said. “It’s more of a market market.”

He said the Saturday market at Owen Jax offers fresh locally grown produce. There are also events for kids, and free yoga at 9:30 a.m. at the market.

Warren City Council member Kelly Colegio said the Owen Jax market is also a great place to learn about the city’s growing number of community gardens. The nearby Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, which opened a garden last year to supplement its food pantry benefiting the surrounding community, sends volunteers to share information about the garden and the programs it fuels.

“I think it’s exciting to see some more activity brought to that area and I think it’s good to see the farmers market kind of springboard off of the community garden at Mt. Calvary,” Colegio said. “It’s uniting the community.”

Bowman said a lack of vendor participation led to the cancellation of Wednesday farmers markets at City Square last year, but that the Sunday markets are going strong as a “Sunday destination for families.” The Sunday market also offers kids programs throughout the day and free yoga at 9:30 a.m., and the city has been using the venue to audition musicians interested in taking part in the “Battle of the Bands” at Warren’s Birthday Bash Aug. 23-26.

Both Warren farmers markets offer incentives to buy Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables, and vendors now accept the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s Electronic Benefit Transfer cards.

Warren’s farmers market at Owen Jax is expected to run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday through Sept. 21. The farmers market at City Square will run on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the end of October.

For more information, call (586) 268-8400.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.